Date - 2nd August 2009 Distance - 9.25 miles.
Ascent - 1550ft
Map - OL2 Start point - Ribblehead (SD 765793)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Blea Moor 1755 535 SD 7726 8258



We were sitting quietly having tea and biscuits, when Tetley came hurrying in, looking excited.

"What's going on?", enquired Shaun.

"Good news", he replied. "Dad has been talking to Uncle Bob, and they have arranged a walk together for Sunday, and we are going to Yorkshire."

By now Allen had pricked his ears up, and said, "where?"

"From Ribblehead, to climb Blea Moor."

"Ooh great", chipped in Shaun. "Uncle Bob has done that before, so we will catch up."

"It will be super to have Uncle Bob's company", said Grizzly.

"Roll on Sunday!", called out Little Eric.


The Walk

It is less than and hour from home to Ribblehead, so for once we did not have to be up too early. We arrived first and we sat patiently looking out for Uncle Bob.

"Here he comes", called out Tetley, and we all waved to him as he pulled in beside us.

"Hi Uncle Bob", called out Allen. "Good to see you and we are looking forward to your company on the walk."

"Nice to see you too, lads."

While Dad got his boots on etc., we settled ourselves in the rucksack ready for the off.

Shaun instructed, "cross the road and head directly across the boggy ground over Runscar Hill."

To our left was the famous Ribblehead Viaduct. Grizzly told us, "although now known as Ribblehead Viaduct, it was originally called Batty Moss Viaduct. There are 24 arches, and in all it is 440 yards long and 165 feet high. The massive structure is a testament to Victorian engineering."

Behind us as the line continues south, and just beyond the bridge carrying the railway over the road, is Ribblehead Station, seen here backed by the bulk of Park Fell. Since the line was saved from closure in 1989, this and all the other stations on the line have been completely renovated.

Oh, and yes the two cars on the left are Uncle Bob's and Dad's.

Well, we had better get on with the walk!

We soon reached this cave, its entrance bedecked with ferns and wild flowers. "A nice picture for the story", said Little Eric.

We could have got in easily, but we did not know what would have faced us. "Better not", said Grizzly, "The last thing we want is to get into difficulties, and need the Cave Rescue team to come to our aid."

Continuing over the rough ground, and contouring round, we descended to the main path by Blue Clay Ridge. Shaun said, "we take the path forking right and climbing up the fell."

Grizzly told us, "below this hill the Settle-Carlisle railway runs through Bleamoor Tunnel. It was built between 1870 and 1875 and describes an arc within its length of 2,629 yards. There are three ventilation shafts, the first of which we can just see poking out behind one of the piles of spoil. These heaps are some of the materials excavated during its construction. It must have been extremely hard work without the aid of modern machinery. Steam powered hoists were used to remove the spoil and also lower the workers down to the excavations."

Following the clear climbing path, we reached the first of the ventilation shafts, where Uncle Bob posed for his picture.

The path climbed on to a stile in the fence. Just before Shaun said, "we need to take that thin path over bog and peat hags to gain a ridge and then come by the fence."

There a clear path was joined that led to the trig point marking the Blea Moor summit.

As we leaped out of the rucksack, and settled by the trig point, Little Eric shouted "get the camera out and take our picture, Dad."

The visibility was good and there were fine views of the Three Peaks (Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside) as well as Simon Fell and Park Fell, and towards Dentdale and Garsdale. Here Dad poses by the trig point with Park Fell, Simon Fell and Ingleborough (most distant) behind.

Photograph courtesy Bob Woolley (Uncle Bob)

Dad then took Uncle Bob.

All done, Shaun said, "we should return along the fence to regain the main path."

Here we strolled along descending to the third vent, from which smoke was issuing.

"I wonder what to make of that", said Allen.

"Well it can only be from a steam train", shouted Shaun. "There it is crossing Dent Head Viaduct - a stirring sight too!"

"Quick Dad, get a picture", called out Tetley.

We watched it as it progressed along, then crossing Arten Gill Viaduct and passing under Great Knoutberry Hill on its way to Dent Station.

Some weeks later Dad and Uncle Brian went to visit Uncle Alec & Aunt Jan, and we went along too. Uncle Alec has for many years been a keen railway enthusiast, and he was able to tell us that the locomotive hauling the train was 46115 Scots Guardsman, on an excursion from York to Carlisle.

"That was exciting", said Tetley. "Uncle Brian will be very jealous."

Resuming the walk, Shaun said, "we leave Blea Moor behind and descend to the forest boundary."

There a muddy path descended steeply down to come to the forest road. "Turn right on the road", called out Shaun.

This led to the motor road a little way above Dent Head Viaduct. "Turn right then soon go right onto the bridleway, instructed Shaun."

By the side of the road we passed these colourful thistles.

The bridleway was at times rather muddy as we tramped along for over 2 miles through the rough terrain, to come to the house called Whinshaw. Here a tarmac road (the access track) took us to the main B6255 near Gearstones, and then on to the start at Ribblehead.

"Look" called out Allen. "There's a train crossing the viaduct. Uncle Brian will be even more jealous."

"That was a most enjoyable walk", said Grizzly.

"Mostly on new paths too", went on Tetley.

"And with the added bonus of seeing the steam train. A wonderful surprise", called out Little Eric.

It was refreshment time now, Dad saying, "how about going to the Blindbeck Tea Room, at Horton."

"Ok mate", agreed Uncle Bob.

There is an aura of calm and tranquillity in the front room of the house that is the cafe. It is very old fashioned, but has quite a charm and Uncle Bob liked it. He had a toasted teacake with jam. Dad was a bit of a pig, having bacon, egg and beans (lovely) then a delicious scone with jam. Well his excuse was that he would not have to get a meal ready when he got home. All was washed down with tea with extra hot water, of course. In all it was just £6.60, and excellent value! It was Dad's turn to treat Uncle Bob.

"Just as well with all the food you had", said Shaun, when he told us on the way home.

So saying our goodbyes we went our separate ways.

"Thanks for your company Uncle Bob and for another great walk!", we said before driving off

"You're welcome lads. It has been another cracking day."


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